Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: *Newb alert* Keeping 'the rhythm'

  1. #1
    C.W
    Guest

    Unhappy *Newb alert* Keeping 'the rhythm'

    Ok, before I go off whining to the tutor that I'm "just not getting it", will someone please, please puh-lease help?

    I've been given four chords:
    E5, G5, C5, D5

    Four notes from each one which I have to 'learn' to play in a ceaseless rhythm. If that makes sense... I have to learn to pick individual notes with the right hand (with a plectrum) whilst doing chord changes. He wants me to not worry so much about precision (as this is causing each chord to be isolated until I move my hands to the next position), so he wants me to just keep strumming with my right regardless of what my left is doing.

    I am very new, so please stay with me if this seems to be something that I should be able to do by now... I'm just feeling both overwhelmed and dejected by my lack of progress at this point.

    Does anyone have any tips or exercises that would help? Or is it really just a case of practice until I get it right (or I break the guitar...)?

    Regards,

    Truly Frustrated.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    Ok, before I go off whining to the tutor that I'm "just not getting it", will someone please, please puh-lease help?

    I've been given four chords:
    E5, G5, C5, D5

    Four notes from each one which I have to 'learn' to play in a ceaseless rhythm. If that makes sense... I have to learn to pick individual notes with the right hand (with a plectrum) whilst doing chord changes. He wants me to not worry so much about precision (as this is causing each chord to be isolated until I move my hands to the next position), so he wants me to just keep strumming with my right regardless of what my left is doing.

    I am very new, so please stay with me if this seems to be something that I should be able to do by now... I'm just feeling both overwhelmed and dejected by my lack of progress at this point.

    Does anyone have any tips or exercises that would help? Or is it really just a case of practice until I get it right (or I break the guitar...)?

    Regards, Truly Frustrated.
    My take on this -- your instructor is wanting you to get the fundamentals of what a rhythm guitarist will be doing down into muscle memory. That takes practice. OK, lets get started.

    Get the fingering down for those four chords. E5, G5, C5, D5 - what must you do with your fingers to 1) make the chord and then 2) move to the next chord, i.e. with out looking at your fingers, can you move your fingers into the next position? Kinda important that you can. So that is the first thing I would work on. http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_db.html I used this site all the time. Suggest you bookmark it. Your instructor may have given you a specific fingering - always do what your instructor tells you.

    Holding the pick (plectrum) is a feel thing, I like the 3.0 mm Big Stubby others like a more flexible pick, that again is a feel thing. I suggest you get a hand full of picks the next time you are at the music store and try them out to find the one you like the best. I hold mine between the thumb and the index finger. Google can pull up some videos for you.

    Now strumming. Strumming - all kinds of ways to strum. Lets just concentrate on all down strums right now. So you form the E5 chord and strum four down strums. How many strings are to be strummed (sounded) with an E5? Yep, that is important. Lets get going from the E5 to the G5 first.

    Form the E5 fingering and strum four down strums - move to the G5 and strum four times. Sounds easy, it is not, I bet you had to look, and I bet you had to stop strumming while you looked. We all did.

    Keep moving from the E5 to the G5 and when that is flowing add the C5, keep going. Get a loop going, i.e. E5, G5, C5, D5, E5, G5, C5, D5, E5, G5, etc.

    This is one of the first things we all had to master. When you can move between those four chords with out loosing the beat you have taken the first step toward being a musician. I like to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For example; when playing rhythm guitar to a song we need to move between the chords in time with the vocalist. So..... on Happy Birthday it would go something like this;

    C .../.../...../...../...G
    Happy birthday to you
    /...../.../...../..../...C
    Happy birthday to you
    /..../..../....../..../.../.....G....F
    Happy birthday to dear name
    F..../....C .../....G ..C
    Happy birthday to you

    When the vocalist got to the lyric word "you" you need to sound the G chord - as the word is being sung. And then when the vocalist got to the next "you" you would sound the C chord. Not before, not after, dead on. Until you can do this seemelessly the music will be going off and leaving you. Yes, we all had to get through this. It'll come, keep practicing.


    Welcome to our World. Have fun.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 03-08-2013 at 03:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    Ok, before I go off whining to the tutor that I'm "just not getting it", will someone please, please puh-lease help?

    I've been given four chords:
    E5, G5, C5, D5

    Four notes from each one which I have to 'learn' to play in a ceaseless rhythm. If that makes sense... I have to learn to pick individual notes with the right hand (with a plectrum) whilst doing chord changes. He wants me to not worry so much about precision (as this is causing each chord to be isolated until I move my hands to the next position), so he wants me to just keep strumming with my right regardless of what my left is doing.

    I am very new, so please stay with me if this seems to be something that I should be able to do by now... I'm just feeling both overwhelmed and dejected by my lack of progress at this point.

    Does anyone have any tips or exercises that would help? Or is it really just a case of practice until I get it right (or I break the guitar...)?

    Regards,

    Truly Frustrated.
    Can you tell us what shapes you've been given for those chords?
    As power chords, they could be on two strings (6-5 or 5-4), or maybe 3 strings (6-5-4, 5-4-3).

    When you say "individual notes", do you mean just picking one string at a time? Or strumming the whole chord? (It might help us give better advice.)

    As Malcolm says, the point of the exercise is to get you used to playing to a regular beat, and not worrying about getting each chord absolutely right. This is because good timing is the most important thing in music. The ear can sometimes forgive wrong notes if the groove is good. But even if all the notes are right, if the groove breaks down - if it slows down while you change chord! - it sounds bad.

    IMO, you should aim to get the first beat of each chord right on the count of "1". Then leave enough time to get your hand to the next position in time for beat 1 of the next chord. So, you probably won't have time to play beats 2 3 and 4, because the time between beat 4 and the next beat 1 isn't enough to move your fingers. So forget beat 4 - lift your fingers and start moving them after beat 3 - or even after beat 2 if you have to.
    Of course, it's easier if the tempo (speed) is slower, and I don't know if your teacher has specified a tempo to work at. The important thing (for this exercise) is the regularity of the beat.

    But in general, you have to be prepared for a lot of repetitive tedious practice when learning guitar. Your fingers are stupid, and need to shown what to do, over and over. But - when they've learned it, they won't forget. And then it's just a matter of steadily speeding up.

  4. #4
    C.W
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    i.e. with out looking at your fingers, can you move your fingers into the next position? Kinda important that you can. So that is the first thing I would work on. http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_db.html I used this site all the time. Suggest you bookmark it. Your instructor may have given you a specific fingering - always do what your instructor tells you.
    But, seriously, that's not going to just happen in a week is it? I'm driving myself nuts, and giving myself such a hard time, because I'm just not getting it. Even got all drunk this morning from a night out and came in trying to play, hoping I'd have at least relaxed enough that it wouldn't matter (as I'm sure you've guessed, it didn't really work in terms of getting it 'right').

    Thanks for the link - I've bookmarked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    I suggest you get a hand full of picks the next time you are at the music store and try them out to find the one you like the best.
    I got loads already - I'll test them out later, maybe that'll help as I'm just using one that came with the guitar at the mo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    How many strings are to be strummed (sounded) with an E5
    Four individual notes sounded each time, starting with low E, A, D and back to A. Same again with next chord. Move onto next chord: A, D, G. Next chord: A, D, G, D (in case you're wondering, i'm currently doing an incredibly slow version of 'I Wanna Live' by Ramones).

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Sounds easy, it is not, I bet you had to look, and I bet you had to stop strumming while you looked. We all did.
    Sometimes I can do it - but it's not consistent. Often I'm not picking the notes at all, or I'm missing the 'change'...

    Thanks for the post!

  5. #5
    C.W
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Can you tell us what shapes you've been given for those chords?
    As power chords, they could be on two strings (6-5 or 5-4), or maybe 3 strings (6-5-4, 5-4-3).
    Nice to hear from you again, Jon!

    I'm not quite sure I've understood you here, but i presume you mean number fingers that correspond to strings... E5: index fret 2 for A and D; G5: 1-3-4; C5: 1-3-4; D5: 1-3-4.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    When you say "individual notes", do you mean just picking one string at a time? Or strumming the whole chord? (It might help us give better advice.)
    (As above) "Four individual notes sounded each time, starting with low E, A, D and back to A. Same again with next chord. Move onto next chord: A, D, G. Next chord: A, D, G, D"

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Of course, it's easier if the tempo (speed) is slower, and I don't know if your teacher has specified a tempo to work at. The important thing (for this exercise) is the regularity of the beat.
    He's basically said as slow as I need to go that, at the moment, it doesn't matter if I'm super slow, as long as I'm working out how to play the chords. The temp of the song is 173 though - I'm definitely a long way off from that!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    But in general, you have to be prepared for a lot of repetitive tedious practice when learning guitar. Your fingers are stupid, and need to shown what to do, over and over. But - when they've learned it, they won't forget. And then it's just a matter of steadily speeding up.
    I don't mind repetitive - I just feel like I'm just not 'getting it' at the moment, that's all. I'll stick at it though. Fingers crossed I eventually do...

  6. #6
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    Nice to hear from you again, Jon!

    I'm not quite sure I've understood you here, but i presume you mean number fingers that correspond to strings... E5: index fret 2 for A and D
    You mean index across fret 2 on the A and D strings? That works, but is not how I'd play E5.
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    G5: 1-3-4; C5: 1-3-4; D5: 1-3-4.
    Yes I see those as finger numbers, but it doesn't help (that's just standard for any power chord). Which strings? Root on 6th or root on 5th?

    What I mean is, is he asking you to shoot up and down the neck, keeping the same shape on the same strings? Or crossing strings? Ie, this:
    Code:
     E5  G5  C5  D5
    --------------------------------
    --------------------------------
    -------------------------------
    -2---5---10--12----------------------
    -2---5---10--12----------------------
    -0---3---8---10-------------------------
    Or this:
    Code:
     E5  G5  C5  D5
    --------------------------------
    --------------------------------
    ---------5---7-----------------
    -2---5---5---7----------------------
    -2---5---3---5----------------------
    -0---3-------------------------------
    It's worth practising both, but obviously they present different technical issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    (As above) "Four individual notes sounded each time, starting with low E, A, D and back to A. Same again with next chord. Move onto next chord: A, D, G. Next chord: A, D, G, D"
    Ah, OK, looks like you're talking strings, and you mean the 2nd set of shapes above?

    1 string at a time is not a normal way to play power chords, but is checking that (a) you're fretting the chord properly, and (b) you can play single notes in time.

    That's a reasonable technical exercise, I guess. The problem, of course, is getting from the last of each 4 notes to the next shape in time. Eg from index on B on the E chord (string 5 fret 2) to index on G (string 6 fret 3).
    What I suggest is thinking about those single finger moves between last note on one chord and first note on next chord.
    So, the first change (B > G) is tricky, because it's the same finger (index), changing fret and string.
    Change 2 (G5 > C5) is easier, because the last note on G5 is D (3rd finger, fret 5 on A), so you can move your index across to 5th string while you're playing that note.
    Change 3 (C5 > D5) is also pretty easy because you're just sliding the whole shape up. Just make sure when you do that that your fingers hold the same shape: don't lift your fingers off the strings, or out of shape, just slide up as a block.

  7. #7
    C.W
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    You mean index across fret 2 on the A and D strings? That works, but is not how I'd play E5.
    I'm just going with what he tells me. Just assuming he isn't leading me astray. He corrects incorrect positioning any other time, such as right hand resting in the wrong place, making sure my thumb on left hand doesn't sneek from behind the guitar (though that's unlikely to happen with me having little hands) etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    What I mean is, is he asking you to shoot up and down the neck, keeping the same shape on the same strings? Or crossing strings?
    [/CODE]Or this:
    Code:
     E5  G5  C5  D5
    --------------------------------
    --------------------------------
    ---------5---7-----------------
    -2---5---5---7----------------------
    -2---5---3---5----------------------
    -0---3-------------------------------
    It's worth practising both, but obviously they present different technical issues.
    Ah, OK, looks like you're talking strings, and you mean the 2nd set of shapes above?
    Yep! That one for now, and keeping shape but moving about.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    1 string at a time is not a normal way to play power chords, but is checking that (a) you're fretting the chord properly, and (b) you can play single notes in time.
    It's actually part of the song. One section plays a set of individual notes. The next section uses the same chords to strum. And then there's a third section with bends.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    That's a reasonable technical exercise, I guess. The problem, of course, is getting from the last of each 4 notes to the next shape in time. Eg from index on B on the E chord (string 5 fret 2) to index on G (string 6 fret 3).
    What I suggest is thinking about those single finger moves between last note on one chord and first note on next chord.
    So, the first change (B > G) is tricky, because it's the same finger (index), changing fret and string.
    Change 2 (G5 > C5) is easier, because the last note on G5 is D (3rd finger, fret 5 on A), so you can move your index across to 5th string while you're playing that note.
    Change 3 (C5 > D5) is also pretty easy because you're just sliding the whole shape up. Just make sure when you do that that your fingers hold the same shape: don't lift your fingers off the strings, or out of shape, just slide up as a block.
    Aye, the slide is easy (I just overshoot the mark occasionally). But yes, it's the others giving me difficulty. Blurgh. I guess i'll get there if I stick at it, just incredibly frustrating. I may just have sulky-I-couldn't-do-it face come Wednesday evening though.

  8. #8
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by C.W View Post
    It's actually part of the song.
    Ah-ha! What's the song?

  9. #9
    C.W
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Ah-ha! What's the song?

    Ramones - I Wanna Live (transcribed by my tutor, Kevin Burke).

Similar Threads

  1. hi, another newb here
    By nicksampo in forum New Members Zone
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-06-2006, 01:49 PM
  2. Keeping the rhythm and proper picking..
    By whipl@sshh in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-29-2005, 01:58 AM
  3. Beginner Alert!
    By Slaindude in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-19-2005, 10:08 AM
  4. Newbie Alert!
    By AngryBot in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-20-2002, 10:35 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •